Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty issued a statement early this morning confirming he will be at the first GOP 2012 presidential nomination debate next week in Greenville, S.C.
Pawlenty had been expected to attend along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and Herman Cain, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO. It’s unclear now whether Gingrich will attend.
And there has been no word from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Minnesota Congresswomen Michele Bachmann, who is considering a run for president.
In making it official he’ll be there Pawlenty said, “it’s important that Republicans show up now, talk about their records, and begin the debate on how best we can defeat this President.”
Asked whether the statement is a jab at likely 2012 GOP contenders who will not be participating in the debate, a Pawlenty spokesman told MPR News, “The statement speaks for itself.”